At Laird Norton Wealth Management’s 2013 Thought Forum, historian Douglas Brinkley inspired us by saying the Seattle area is “ground zero” for the U.S. environmental movement. Brinkley also noted that we don’t have to look far for inspiration; key figures in the environmental movement hail from WA State, and their work deserves more recognition. Well, that recognition is finally on the way. Today, The Seattle Times reported that two WA state residents — William D. Ruckelshaus and the late Billy Frank Jr. — will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the U.S. can bestow on civilians.
Ruckelshaus, now 84, was the first head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is largely credited for the ban on the pesticide DDT and agreements to reduce car pollution. Frank, who died last year at age 83, was an advocate of tribal habitat and treaty rights. The awards ceremony will be held at the White House on Nov. 24.